Clark County Sheriff Calls For Reassessment Of Federal Formula Used For Homeland Security Funding

CARSON CITY – Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said today it is time to ask federal officials to reassess the “threat matrix” used to allocate funding to states and cities for homeland security efforts given the drastic funding cuts facing Nevada in 2012.

“In my opinion you can’t approach the funding and dealing with these risks with the same threat matrix,” Gillespie said during a meeting of the Homeland Security Commission. “And that’s basically what we’re faced with, folks. That’s the threat matrix that’s out there that we never get to see. I’ve yet to see truly how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says Detroit is so much higher than Anaheim, Seattle, Baltimore . . .”

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie.

Detroit is no longer the population and manufacturing center it once was, yet the formula to disperse homeland security dollars does not reflect that change, he said.

“I think that’s what we need to place pressure on the federal government level, is that, the time has come to take a look at the Department of Homeland Security and all that the secretary is responsible for,” Gillespie said. “And is it time to change something that was enacted after a significant event of 9-11.”

Gillespie’s comments came after Nevada officials learned that the state’s share of federal funding for homeland security has been slashed dramatically for federal fiscal year 2012.

Information presented to the commission shows that Nevada’s share of Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funding is expected to decrease from $5.7 million in federal fiscal year 2011 to $1.82 million in 2012, a 68 percent decline.

State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) funding will decline 45 percent, from $5.1 million in 2011 to $2.8 million in 2012.

The Nevada News Bureau first reported on the funding concerns at the Homeland Security Commission meeting in November of 2011.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who serves as chairman of the commission, met with a Homeland Security Department official earlier this week during his visit to Washington, DC, while attending a National Governors Association meeting.

“I know that these recent decisions that have been made have caused some issues throughout the state, particularly here in Southern Nevada,” he said.

Commissioner Bob Fisher asked whether those federal officials making funding decisions have visited Las Vegas to see first-hand what goes on in the community, which can see 100,000 people attending a convention or converging on the Strip on a Saturday night. The state might consider extending such an invitation, he said.

Christopher Smith, chief of the Homeland Security agency, said inviting federal officials out to Las Vegas would be a great way to demonstrate the challenges faced by state and local officials.

Federal guidance provided by the DHS to Nevada for 2012 funding priorities said that because of limited resources, “grantees are encouraged to utilize grant funding to maintain and sustain current capabilities through investments in training and exercises, updates to current planning and procedures, and life-cycle replacement of equipment.”

Any new efforts using grant funding must be available to support regional and national efforts, the guidance said.

Smith said the state needs to focus on sustaining its current programs in 2012 given the reduced funding levels.

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Audio clips:

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie says the homeland security funding formula needs to be revised:

030212Gillespie1 :30 Anaheim, Seattle, Baltimore . . “

Gillespie says it is time to review the formula 10 years after 9-11:

030212Gillespie3 :20 event of 9-11.”